Garda review to be most ambitious since founding of State

Representative groups question why no former Gardaí are on review commission

Garda Siochana Retired Members Association (GSRMA) add their voice to concerns as to why no serving or retired member of An Garda Siochana has been included in the panel of participants to conduct the latest root and branch review of the force.  General Secretary Paschal Feeney stated it is obvious that experience counts for naught when it comes to logic in selecting the panel of examiners. One only has to look at the menu for consideration in the review. The commission will examine whether the Gardaí should retain the responsibility for community safety, State security and immigration or whether separate bodies should be established. It will investigate management and supervisory structures, recruitment and training of members and the culture and ethos of the force. The members will also assess breaches of discipline, how complaints against the police are adjudicated and the oversight of An Garda Síochána. Therefore in his opinion retired members of An Garda Siochana, are best placed.

An independent root-and-branch review of An Garda Síochána will not issue a final report for 16 months but may provide a series of rolling recommendations to the Government.

Kathleen O’Toole, the chief of police in Seattle who is to chair the 12-person commission, said it would be the most ambitious review of Irish policing since the foundation of the State.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald received approval from the Cabinet on Tuesday on the scope of the inquiry into the structures of the force and its membership.

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An independent root-and-branch review of An Garda Síochána will not issue a final report for 16 months but may provide a series of rolling recommendations to the Government.

Kathleen O’Toole, the chief of police in Seattle who is to chair the 12-person commission, said it would be the most ambitious review of Irish policing since the foundation of the State.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald received approval from the Cabinet on Tuesday on the scope of the inquiry into the structures of the force and its membership.

Among those participating in the review are former Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission member and former editor of The Irish Times Conor BradyDublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Noeline Blackwell and several academics.

However, the commission’s membership has been criticised by members of the force, with the Garda Representative Association claiming the opinions of rank-and-file members were being ignored.

Antoinette Cunningham, President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, also questioned why no serving or retired Gardaí were participating.

Ms O’Toole said she hoped to be allowed to bring forward immediate proposals for reform and make recommendations as deemed necessary for implementation in the short term.

Ms O’Toole’s start date is unknown but it is expected she will occupy the role on a full-time basis.